IGF USA 2011
GEORGETOWN LAW CENTER
600 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, DC
To Enter the Law Center:
Before 9 am please use the Tower Green/F Street Entrance, after 9 am the 2nd Street Entrance.
Monday, JULY 18, 2011
The IGF USA engages with civil society, government, and business, as well as technologists, researchers and academia to discuss topics being deliberated at a global level in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The IGF USA will present a report into the global IGF, scheduled for September 27-30, Nairobi, Kenya.
8:15 A.M. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:45 A.M. Opening Plenary Session:
Introductions to IGF-USA: Marilyn Cade, Chief Catalyst, IGF-USA 2011
Welcome and Remarks: Pablo Molina, Campus CIO and AVP, Georgetown University
Remarks: Chengetai Masango, IGF Secretariat
Remarks: Ambassador Phil Verveer, US Coordinator, International Communications & Information Policy
9:30-10:00 A.M. Introduction of Speaker:Janna Anderson, Elon University
Speaker:Lee Rainie, PEW Research: Understanding Users Views
10:00-10:15 A.M. Morning Break
10:15-12:00 P.M. Scenario Breakout Sessions – Addressing a future affected by man-made and natural challenges and disasters- wars, civil strife, natural disasters, an aging world, interventionist governments – What is the governance future for the Internet in 2025?
- Regionalization of the Internet
- Youth – Rising and Reigning
- Government Prevails
Scenarios offer a way to look at possible futures, driven by trends. Pioneered by Dutch Shell, but now adopted and adapted into corporate, governmental and NGO planning, IGF-USA 2011 will elaborate on its inaugural work in 2010 Scenarios. These sessions are purposely restricted to 40 participants, with Scenario teams who will examine a particular scenario and its possibilities, and implications for Internet’s future and the future for Internet Governance. The groups will then participate in an afternoon plenary session with all IGF-USA participants to debate the scenarios and offer perspectives. The Scenarios will form a significant part of the IGF-USA 2011 report into IGF Nairobi, September, 2011.
Scenario Team Members: Garland McCoy, Technology Education Institute; Andrew Mack, AMGlobal; Alessandra Carozza, AMGlobal; Pablo Molina, Georgetown Law Center; Chris Hemmerlein, US DoC/NTIA; Kelly O’Keefe, Access Partnerships; Alex Stanford, Intern/Ackerman Senterfitt; Pam Covington, Verisign; Walda Roseman, ISOC; Steve DelBianco, NetChoice; ex officio – Marilyn Cade, ICT Strategies
10:15-12:00 P.M. WORKSHOP: Can the Clouds prevail? Data Retention; Privacy; Security; Geo-location; Mobility; Government/Law Enforcement Cooperation; Trans-national Location Issues: Emerging Challenges in Internet Governance
Promoted by industry and government alike, the “Cloud” seems to be the answer to next stage online services—addressing costs; access; diversity of infrastructure; reliability; and security. Yet its very distributed nature raises Internet governance questions—this workshop will address the Internet Governance questions facing Cloud computing – and various stakeholders’ views on addressing them, including the emergence of mobile “Cloud”.
Dan O’Neil, GIIC, Coordinator
Michael Nelson, Georgetown University, Moderator
Speakers: Mark Crandall, Google
Jeff Brueggeman, AT&T John Morris, CDT
Danny McPherson, Verisign Fred Whiteside, NIST
Amie Stephanovich, EPIC Jonathan Zuck, ACT
12:00 -1:00 P.M. Networking Lunch – Hart Auditorium Area
1:15-3:00 P.M. Afternoon Workshops
WORKSHOP: New Challenges to CRITICAL INTERNET RESOURCES Blocking and Tackling: New Risks and Solutions?
The Internet’s visibility as a critical communications mechanism has drawn increased attention from policy makers, the technical community, and Internet users in general. Thus, security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet are recognized as priorities to the continued successful growth of the Internet as a platform for worldwide communication, commerce, and innovation. Threats to these core elements of the Internet are already taking many forms and are increasing in scope and sophistication. On the other hand, new policy initiatives and technical solutions provide possible avenues to address the threats.
This panel will focus on two important topics which have engendered varying views concerning their efficacy with respect to the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet: DNS blocking and filtering, and IPv6. It will explore the range of emerging threats to the Internet and the sometimes-competing considerations in the use of DNS-based solutions and the implementation of the new addressing system.
The program will present a balanced view of the relevant issues. It is expected to include participants from the government, intellectual property, Internet operations, and public interest communities. This session will be highly interactive and will include audience interaction and participation with the expert participants.
Sally Wentworth – ISOC
John Curran – ARIN Rex Bullinger – NCTA
Dr. Stephen Crocker – Shinkuro Paul Brigner – MPAA
George Ou – Digital Society David Sohn – CDT
Don Blumenthal – PIR Dr. Jim Galvin – Afilias, (and Workshop Coordinator)
* Jane Coffin, NTIA – special advisor workshop
WORKSHOP: A Plethora of Policy Principles: OECD; US Cyber Security; G8; CoE and Others
Recently, a plethora of Internet and online principles or statements by governments have emerged. And they are joining existing sets of principles, some focused on human rights; some on security; some on Internet Governance.
The workshop will include a mini overview of several sets of principles: OECD’s recently announced principles, statements by the G8 leaders about the Internet that have implications for action by the G8 countries; the U.S. International Strategy for Cyber space, Council of Europe’s (CoE) Internet Governance Principles, and principles developed by the Brazilian Steering Group and proposed for the Internet Governance Forum to endorse. After a preliminary briefing on these sets of principles, a compare and contrast presentation will help to identify commonalities and differences.
Armed with a common analysis of these sets of principles, the session then moves into a Roundtable, with invited respondents interacting with the presenters and each other to discuss and dissect the applicability of these principles to Internet Governance overall, and to consider how principles are then implemented – soft law; hard law; something else? The process of developing principles varies across these principles, and with other sets of principles. Is that important? Is multi-stakeholder always the right approach? And, what form of multi-stakeholder? Can principles be effective, or are government to government agreements needed to mandate industry and citizen action? Are treaties needed? Do corporate ‘codes of conduct’ influence changes in industry – and user behavior? What about national law and national initiatives? And, if the latter, is that a patchwork that hinders the Internet’s growth?
Because the Internet and online services are global, the perspective of the workshop will be ‘taking a global view’ in the discussions that follow these presentations and briefings.
Co-Moderators: Fiona Alexander, U.S. Department of Commerce, NTIA and Shane Tews, Verisign
Presentation of Principles:
Heather Shaw. USCIB — OECD Principles
Chris Hemmerlein, NTIA — G-8 Internet Section
Shelia Flynn, U.S. State Department – U.S. International Strategy on Cyberspace
Leslie Martinkovics – Brazilian Principles
Sarah Labowitz, U.S. State Department — Council of Europe Internet Governance Principles
Iren Borissova, Verisign: Compare and Contrast – A synthesis view
Jackie Ruff, Verizon Communications, Inc Liesyl Franz, TechAmerica
Milton Mueller, Syracuse University [remote] Michael Nelson, Georgetown University
Jeff Brueggeman, AT&T Robert Guerra, Freedom House
Cynthia Wong, CDT Susan Morgan, GNI
WORKSHOP: Changing Landscape of the domain name System: new gTLDs and their implications for users: Opportunities and Risks:
In the world outside of Internet governance and ICANN it’s little a little known fact that such a dramatic change to the domain naming system is before us. In fact we can likely expect hundreds of new top-level-domain names in late 2012 through 2013. Though ICANN and the Internet community posit that “(t)he expansion of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) space will allow for a greater degree of innovation and choice,” many are discussing what the real impact will be for REGISTRANTS.
In contrast, this session is intended to explore Internet USERS’ experience when the Domain Name System (DNS) undergoes this swift and massive expansion. It’s a chance for the community to explore expected changes and how they impact Internet use including communication, research, commerce and other emerging functions. In this session bring together experts representing the broadest swath of the Internet community including government, contracted parties, users and businesses that represent some of the most trafficked sites online.
Please join this exciting discourse while we confront the Internet user experience as well as the tangible benefit and potential challenges hundreds or a thousand or more new gTLDs bring.
Frederick Felman, Mark Monitor, Moderator
Panelists: Bobbie Flaim, FBI
Suzanne Radell, NTIA Jon Nevett, Domain Dimensions, LLC
Amber Sterling, American Medical College Association Ron Andruff, DotSport
Pat Kane, Verisign Brian Winterfeldt, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
BEST PRACTICE FORUM: Digital Natives: Myth-busting about Youth in the Online World
More than 90 percent of people ages 12 to 29 in the United States are online. Internet governance debates and Internet policy decisions are often tied to best guarding or guiding young people, but research by respected experts has shown that there are many half-truths and false impressions being tied to the generation that some people have labeled as “digital natives.” Among these are statements such as: “Young people are addicted to social media,” “Youth do not care about privacy,” “The Internet is a dangerous, dangerous place,” “Teens are naturally tech-savvy and adept at creating online content,” “The virtual world of online communication is isolating young people.” How do young people really use the Internet? How do they view the impacts and likely implications of their evolving uses of online tools? What issues of the digital age are today’s young people most concerned about? And how can decisions about the political, economic and social future of the Internet through governance processes best address these concerns in the future? This roundtable will bring together 10 to 12 college-age participants who will engage in a peer-moderated guided discussion and interaction with forum attendees.
- Everyone uses the Internet.
- Nobody accesses Internet on their computers anymore.
- The digital is separate from the “real” world.
- Social media makes kids deceptive.
- Social media is addictive.
- Young people don’t care about privacy.
- The Internet is a dangerous, dangerous place.
- There’s nothing educational about social media.
- Young people are digital natives.
- Teens are active creators of online content.
- The Internet is the great equalizer.
Colin Donohue, Elon University Ali Hamed, Cornell University
Ronda Ataalla, Elon University Jeff Stern, Elon University
Kellye Coleman, Elon University Kristen Steves, Cornell University
William O’Connor, Georgetown University Nick Troiano, Georgetown University
Chelsea Rowe, Cornell University William Vogt, Georgetown University
BEST PRACTICE FORUM: ICTs for Disaster Response: How the Internet is transforming Emergency Management:
Recent man-made and natural disasters around the globe have highlighted the importance of ICTs for connecting public safety officials, coordinating response operations, and keeping citizens informed. Additionally, new and emerging Internet-based tools, mobile applications and social media have transformed disaster relief efforts, empowering citizens to access and share life-saving information and locate loved ones. Enhanced media coverage via multiple platforms offers almost instantaneous and ubiquitous coverage about implications for life and property; individuals impacted by natural or man-made risks and threats are able to use social networks, and the Internet, to interactively report on their experiences. The corresponding increase in media reporting and citizen reporting are raising the profile of the impact of disasters – but also transforming disaster response and management. Responders are driving innovative uses of ICTs to transform emergency planning, intermediation, and management. The Internet and social networking are being harnessed by search and rescue teams to locate and bring vital support to victims. ICTs are reassuring loved ones, bringing help to the stranded, raising financial aid, managing communications for responders, and supporting rebuilding.
This workshop will explore the role communications, Internet and Internet-based applications play in disaster response and recovery operations and steps that can be taken to ensure continuity of operations following a disaster. The discussion will also consider the connection between disaster preparedness and Internet governance.
Moderated by: Kelly O’Keefe, Director, Access Partnership, LLC
Joe Burton, Communications and Information Policy, US State Department
Jim Bugel, Public Safety and Homeland Security
Corbin Fields, Sparkrelief
Vance Hedderel, Afilias
Keith Robertory, Disaster Services Technology, American Red Cross
Tim Woods, Cisco
3:00-3:15 P.M. Afternoon Break
3:15-3:45 P.M. Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information/Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) US Dept. of Commerce
3:50-5:00 P.M. Scenario Stories: The Internet 2025 Scenarios and Implications for the future of Internet Governance
Interactive Discussion with Audience and Key Respondents
5:00-5:30 P.M. Closing Session:
- The way forward for Internet Governance
- Invitation to Internet Governance Forum, Nairobi, Kenya
- Closing Comments and Summing Up
While most of us have a sense of – and preference for – the“unitary” internet we have today, the web as we know it is already developing into a series of “Internet Islands” or regional divisions based on geographic and/or economic similarity. Natural and man-made disasters could easily accelerate this process, leading to an alternate future where the differences between these islands is more pronounced and e-conflict between regions becomes a significant national security and economic development issue.
Key drivers for this scenario included:
- National and corporate security concerns and increased pressure from non-state actors based in “failed state” regions of the world
- Global economic weakness, budget crises and significant, systemic unemployment
- Shortages of food and raw materials leading to rises in the prices for commodities, food and energy and supply chain/trade disruptions
- A rising “black market” dominated by narco/political/religious groups with increasing technical sophistication
- Expansion of iPV6 and the “internet of things” creates an environment where citizens can be easily tracked within a region and where a market in false identities flourishes
In 2011, Internet governance follows the loose “Reston Consensus” (named for the city where the commercial internet established its first real “roots” in Northern Virginia), with major players in business, the NGO world and academia agreeing to a kind of managed competition based on the concept of a unitary internet. A multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance appears to be the right model.
Governments push for more control in international forums, but the consensus holds as most people in developed markets argue that it is unnecessary to fix a system that has worked so well, and most internet users in developing regions are still focused primarily on issues around access and narrowing the digital and e-commerce divides.
However, with time a series of man-made and natural disasters put pressure on the fragile, talk-shop-oriented governance models. A combination of government’s inability to act in some regions and heavy-handed government action in others, as well as the emergence of creeping vulnerability to both government-sponsored cyber aggression and non-state rogue actors increases the sense of the need for regional alliances for security on the web. Regional islands, once an obstacle to be bridged with sturdy causeways, become increasingly seen as crucial to security – providing protection with regional drawbridges that can be lifted to create safe havens from danger and prevent contagion from outside.
By 2013 political liberalization in the Arab world had accentuated divisions within the region, with authoritarian regimes reestablishing control in many states, leveraging the same social media tools that had been used to put them under pressure in 2011. New democracies in the Mediterranean region, unable to address short-term needs for employment, and reduce prices for food and staples, foundered, giving rise to an inward-looking conservative backlash in the form of political movements skeptical of Internet openness and increased calls for regulation on the web.
At the same time, massive droughts in East Africa led to widespread hunger, a further deterioration of the Somali state, and massive corruption, as aid trapped at ports like Mombasa were increasingly siphoned off and re-sold by criminal gangs that had hacked into the port’s logistics system. Aid agencies first tried to cover up then admitted the losses, but the damage was done. Regional governments and NGOs seemed powerless to get control over the system. Refugees were on the move all over the region, seeking food and shelter. The region’s e-government systems proved inadequate for the task, and the pace of progress toward internet-enabled development slowed, as legislators were called upon to “protect the masses”. Web-enabled criminal enterprises see clearly how they can leverage failed states to create short term gain based on chaos.
The combination of continued budgetary challenges in the southern parts of the Euro zone, rising energy and food prices puts additional pressure on those countries already struggling with long-term high unemployment. Cash-strapped European governments increasingly see the Internet as a potential source of revenue, and move to push companies to “Buy European” in the e-commerce world, further emphasizing the growing sense of Europe as a “regional island”. At the same time, these attempts to create cyber-tariffs and preferences lead to increasing tax evasion and other efforts to beat the system, hurting consumer confidence and increasing the online role of organized crime (the so-called“digital cartels”).
China’s Internet growth explodes, with mobile-web enabled Chinese citizens becoming more than one third of all web users worldwide. To keep control internally, the Communist Party emphasizes iPv6 expansion and creates a model “internet of things”protocol, allowing the government to increase its tracking of citizens’ movements and political speech, but also their shopping preferences, creating a huge new source of market data on the world’s largest pool of consumers. Externally, the country increasingly flexes its muscles in the Internet governance world, pushing a government-centric “safe home” vision of the internet’s future in a newly-government dominated IGF and in the ITU, where likeminded governments create the “safe home bloc”. As part of this effort, the country uses its market power to stifle international private sector criticism, since firms who propose an alternate vision of the web risk being frozen out of the Chinese market altogether.
At the same time, massive floods and earthquakes in Central Asia further isolate this region, and climate change makes the production of both wheat and opium nearly impossible. With the US and NATO beset by budget crises, weary of war and desperately trying to disengage from the region, lawlessness rules in many remote areas while unemployment tops 80%. Local warlords move from exporting drugs and radicalism to providing havens for cyber-terrorists who are beyond the reach of any kind of government or law enforcement. From this platform, shady groups develop ever stronger tools to attack, extort and steal from businesses and individuals around the world.
And finally, after nearly a decade of building up the region’s mHealth and eHealth infrastructure and moving totally to telemedicine and electronic patient records, the Southern Africa health system collapses. The cause is unclear, and rumors abound that an opposition group or crime syndicate might be responsible, but the region is plunged into chaos.
The world has become increasingly web-dependent – despite the desperate challenges to cyber security and online commerce. The vision of cooperative, global Internet governance is long gone. Regional and political blocs arise, but even within them governments have limited ability to protect citizens from cyber-predators.
Lives have become so stressed that it is routine to perform“network intersessions” where top officials are spirited away for extended periods of time to areas completely off the grid in order to “detox” from the network. Indeed vacation resorts are established that specialize in offering completely isolated areas that block even satellite connectivity as the medical profession attempt to cope with the new “addition” to the network.
China, once considered THE rising global power, is beset by internal conflict as the global economic downturn curtails growth and population continues to grow. Elites with access to the state’s large data network can make colossal fortunes, while upward mobility by most Chinese is stopped cold despite greater use of technology.
Population growth, climate change and increasing urbanization globally lead to massive food and resource scarcity, as well as regional competition. Only well-networked elites can move smoothly to take advantage of international trade.
Within your region, on your island, there is no real privacy. Government, in the name of national security, has gained access to your data. But there is the potential of anonymity if you move, since your digital footprints are washed away once you leave your island. For those that can afford them, a black market in digital identities (IPv6 addresses and phony addresses) leads to the ability for anyone or at least everybody with resources, to “buy” multiple identities.
In the end, the promise of a boundary-free world has turned into a the reality of a world dominated by black market instability, where trust – the cornerstone of the early web – is hidden behind ever higher regional walls which restrict trade but don’t succeed in really keeping out danger.
Scenario: Youth – Rising and Reigning
Content and Services — Production and Delivery Dominated by Young Users
At the start of the second decade of the new millennium, the global economy continued to stagger through recession, job loss, and massive government debt. Slumping national economies strained international organizations as fractures emerged within the EU. Governments were forced to face the stark realities of spending priorities, and investments in social welfare were challenged for the first time in generations. The Arab Spring, the protests of the disenfranchised in European countries like Greece and Spain, and other social unrest movements powered by Internet technologies changed the world. Young people increasingly became the power producers and consumers of Internet content.
Climate change and its impact became a central focus. Altered weather patterns contributed to an increase in disasters in all parts of the globe; historic floods and tornadoes in the United States and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011 created both huge economic costs to G8 countries, but also raised awareness more broadly about possible increased risk presented by the destructive forces of nature.
The spate of natural and environmental disasters captured the world’s attention and galvanized relief efforts supported by social networking tools and citizen reporting, revealing the importance of“real-time” communication and on-the-ground assessment of the disaster landscape. The new phenomenon of social networks filled a void – and was adopted readily by traditional aid initiatives and citizen reporters. Ad hoc efforts and new NGOs quickly formed in response to provide assistance and coordination for victims. This new flood of information was welcomed by traditional aid respondents, but challenges existed to aggregate and authenticate the great influx of data and establish new methods of finding and responding to victims. Still, reports from citizens and aid workers on the ground were disseminated instantly via social media; and new uses of ICTs and radar in tracking and finding victims, and in response emerged. Together with video, social networks revealed the successes and failures of relief efforts, leading to new approaches of intervention and collaboration among aid responders, and an empowered citizenry better able to help themselves and help their neighbors in times of disaster.
More pervasively, the growth of social networking changed the way people maintain relationships in their everyday lives. Those who were adults when the Internet emerged used it to reconnect with lost friends. But the young – especially those who grew up with the Internet, mobile devices, and social networking assumed that such services were a basic requirement. Mash up applications added location information and video to provide a historical record of social interaction. Interactions for youth were often non geo-specific, and they assumed that global connectivity and mobile devices would continue to integrate into their lives and communications.
The extensive amount of content and personal data volunteered by individuals for their online profiles was raising privacy concerns. Governments and privacy activists were cautioning about the risks –and already data loss and identity theft were becoming commonplace. Yet despite the potential for misuse of this information, and periodic examples of its abuse, there seemed to be little to dampen the enthusiasm of users to expose their personal lives to the public or their ever-expanding network of friends. And even while raising concerns, businesses and governmental agencies raced to integrate online and social networking applications into their customer and citizen communications, taking advantage of the increased availability of personal data to tailor communications to attract digital citizen consumers.
The success of applications like Facebook and Twitter drove the emergence of similar competing services, including in a range of languages, and from suppliers located around the globe. Users found new choices–perhaps too many. Companies, large and small, went into and out of the social networking business with little notice. While this resulted in the ‘stranding’ of some users, still, increasingly, rapid growth of such networks was ongoing, and young users dictated which technology platforms were successful and which ones died.
While privacy and security concerns also existed for cloud computing, there was little that could discourage the desire of people to make their content portable. With the rapid improvement in mobile devices, both in terms of storage and the breadth of applications, users became more comfortable shifting their work and personal data to remote storage for ready access at any time and from any location – further altering the norm for access and business communication.
The Wikileaks case, the News of the World scandal, and the financial success of the Huffington Post, led consumers to question the value of traditional journalism. Content producers and consumers increasingly turned to alternative methods and media to media and share news. Traditional newspapers wrestled with declining readership numbers and advertising revenues. Young, ambitious reporters increased their influence in the online world.
Young people globally became politically more active and organized, and many such initiatives drew together like minded activists. Many joined the Pirate party, the Internet party and other technology-concerned political movements.
By 2014, the adoption of LTE by major wireless carriers as the new standard for mobile communications produced dramatic improvements in the broadcast and delivery of content to portable devices. Vast increases in the speed and volume of data available to users led to a period of dramatic growth in manufacturing and application development.
These advances ushered in an era of wireless ubiquity where users sought remote monitoring and control over increasing elements of their lives. The smart grid and monitoring increased energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles and electronic devices. In an effort to improve energy efficiency and to provide more control to the user, everyday appliances became smart machines connected to the network, generating data logs and allowing remote access.
Social networks made great use of this new information. By networking appliances and recording usage data, people were able to track their electrical consumption, performance and quality. They shared these findings with others, pooling information together to create automated assessments, benchmarks and purchasing recommendations. It also greatly assisted the troubleshooting process as technical support representatives or repairmen could perform remote diagnostic tests to address problems remotely.
Houses, energy consuming devices, and automobiles also integrated wireless connectivity as a standard feature. For motorists, this provided location-based information for traffic monitoring and opened a marketplace for on demand audio and video entertainment and information resources. With the added ability to record and transmit video, cars were equipped with cameras that allowed parents to monitor their children’s driving behavior. These devices had the added benefit of serving as accident video recorders, the use of which was incentivized by insurance companies through lowered premiums. Wireless connectivity and the expanding use of sensor technologies facilitated the remote diagnostic and maintenance of vehicles. The privacy and security issues of these new technologies challenged the technologists, the lawyers and the legislators.
But the world was not necessarily peaceful. Continued civil strife in certain oil producing countries, unpredictable and extreme weather and earthquakes in Asia, and continuation of the year long rash of tornadoes and flooding in the US continued –interrupting reliable power in many cities or raising the cost of energy. Extreme and unpredictable weather began to affect reliable agricultural production, and the cost of shipping food, and people spiraled ever higher. In response to these threats to energy and food, smart devices and sensors were increasingly seen as essential tools to collect information on an ever growing array of business and personal activities.
In response to ongoing fears of terrorism and online crime and risks, biometric identification became mandatory for government issued IDs. Faced with this new requirement, users sought to integrate biometrics into their smart phones since it provided added security to communications and commerce. Mobile devices evolved into the principal instrument for both personal identification and commerce as plastic cards that performed these tasks become redundant.
Citizen journalism grew – shifting control of information from major media conglomerates to informal gangs of powerful, yet loosely affiliated information leaders known as “connectors.” Charismatic leaders emerged with their own ‘commentators nets’,replacing formalized news commentators. Without editorial controls or industry oversight, the connectors exerted much influence in society and were behind the rise and the fall of many public figures. A new form of ‘cyber bullying’ emerged in daily life, and in politics. Online defamation became common and those defamed had little recourse. Lawsuits and government investigations proved unsuccessful in addressing these problems.
Users believed that the well-being of the majority was more important than the rigid preservation of copyright laws. Copyright systems worldwide crumbled under the pervasive violations of copyright laws by individual users and the inability of governments to prosecute the volume of offenses. New content aggregators emerged who developed new business models; some content producers adapted by developing new business models. Others disappeared.
As with the Arab Spring in 2011, the Internet and social and mobile networks continued to bring visibility to the oppressive acts of some governments against citizens who engaged in political dissention. Social networking powered many of these movements, with trans-national support thanks to privacy-enhancing technologies. People, particularly the young, demanded action against such states.
Many countries evolved or revolved towards freedom and this drew a returning Diaspora, formerly in economic, social, or actual political exile to return to their home countries to build democratic and responsible governments. Yet, the cost of wars, social unrest and conflicts, the cost of dealing with climate change and natural disasters had impacted many local economies –and slowed the economic growth and creation of jobs. The young responded by creating new online businesses, giving rise to a new social order, and a geo-political perspective of national identity/nationalization.
2015 saw the major breakthrough in software programming for real time language translation, both written and spoken, in the“cloud”. With this development, the lives and work of researchers and educators, health care providers, and law enforcement were dramatically altered as a truly global communication network was realized that allowed real time information exchange across geographic, language and cultural barriers.
With this new capability, community elders were drawn into the on-line activities as the translation software coupled with the rapid evolution of the video phone allowed them to share their heritage with younger generations as never before – no keyboard required! This development had a tremendous impact on the preservation and continuation of numerous native languages and cultures, which were struggling to find a place and relevance in this modern world.
With users continuing to push the limits of mobile devices on a global scale with 10s of millions of new mobile users in China, India and Africa, battery technology was seen as roadblock to further development on the mobile platform. Government-sponsored research programs established new public-private collaborations and achieved breakthroughs in solar and battery power, eventually leading to mobile devices with autonomy of operation for days and even weeks. The world achieved its third Billion users.
In 2017 a significant breakthrough in solar battery charging technology occurred. New mobile and handheld devices were available with a separate device with allowed for a powerful charge in a matter of minutes-not hours. Users were quick to recognize this market-altering development and drove another huge expansion of the mobile device market. Solar emerged as a major energy source for ICTs. This new battery technology was also hailed by civil society organizations as a key to bringing reliability and predictability to those regions and countries struggling with these limitations in the past.
While the expansion of mobile usage was welcomed – many of the historic challenges remained, namely privacy and online security. But this too was now being addressed in a new manner with software developers recognizing the fundamental importance of the issue and building in security into both the devices as well as the software. Users of all ages became more demanding in terms of privacy and information security. But interoperability was a challenge in this new improved online world. As was recycling of devices – adding to the e-waste stockpiling in most countries, or being shipped to the developing countries.
Responsible use on the Internet was now being viewed in the same light as responsible driving was in the past: as a shared responsibility that all were expected to contribute to. Another sign of this new sense of online responsibility was the development of youth organizations (similar to the Boys and Girls Scouts) charged with teaching and spreading the message of responsible use to new users. Recognizing the value of these youth organizations, national governments were quick to jump in and support these initiatives at the grassroots level.
Growth of concerns about online safety and identity theft, coupled with viruses, malware and financial risks led to industry and government collaboration on online safety requirements. Mandated digital citizenship training in preschools and primary schools spread around the US and the world – required for mobile and broadband users alike. It started with schools but migrated aggressively into the workplace. To control insurance costs, employers of all sizes accepted the government required ‘online licensing programs provided by government agencies, based on‘standards’ developed by the Internet’s governance departments in all OECD and many other nations.
Digital technical skills became a baseline for employment –especially in government jobs, and automation of many functions moved very rapidly into the mobile, untethered devices, using voice and images as access mechanisms. Video traffic dominated the Internet. Vast investments in broadband continued throughout the world, inspired by the UN Broadband Commission and the OECD. New spectrum allocations lowered access costs.
By 2021, the 65-year old of 2011 was 75 and was redefining the concept of “old age” ; thanks to improved health care, elders had both energy, and interest to continue their contributions. But, due to the lack of jobs, governments and corporations pushed earlier retirement for many of their workforce employees. Health and fitness become a requirement for insurance and in some cases for employment. Seniors emerged as a new, frustrated political group and mobilized globally, in the way the youth had in 2010 and 2013. The overall percentage of the population in the US, Canada and some European states in the ‘elder’ status was very high, partly because of the 2010-2015 immigration policies in those countries. Those countries now found a severe shortage of caregivers for the eldest, especially for those who require assistance and lack financial resources. New uses of mobile devices and robotics enabled remote monitoring, but did little to deal with the physical care challenges.
The most dramatic technological development to emerge at the close of the decade was the widespread integration of miniaturized video into the fabric of everyday life. With video recording equipment becoming progressively smaller, and the ability to transmit video feeds requiring minimal space, viewwear became the new means to record and broadcast video. Glasses, hats, clothes all became devices to provide a video record of that satisfied consumers’ desire for a first person, participatory perspective to commemorate social interaction.
With seemingly endless storage available in the cloud and sufficient wireless capacity to send as much data there as needed, viewwear allowed its users to document their lives more completely than ever before. This was used in varying forms based on the individual’s preferences and needs.
Using this service, social networking took a new form as people shared their direct life experiences in episodic form called life-feeds, broadcast live, or on demand, for subscribers. Continuing to serve the voyeuristic nature of audiences once satisfied with reality TV programming and twitter feeds, people watched and rated the entertainment value of user-generated productions of real life experiences.
In addition to personal recordings and public broadcasts, viewwear served as a deterrent to physical harm. Since the video record of any incident or attack could be retrieved from storage and used as evidence, the service provided a strong disincentive for assailants. Some in society accepted the pervasiveness of video recordings and were willing to sacrifice individual rights to privacy and freedom from unauthorized recordings as it became easier to solve crimes and adjudicate legal claims. Others set up viewwear-free zones.
But, AIDS, pandemics, civil strife and natural disasters affecting some parts of the world continued — adding to the financial debts faced by governments. The warming of the world’s oceans was having an impact on marine life, and food production had replaced climate change as the topic of debate online, and on any remaining global broadcasting networks, causing global alignments of corporations, purchasing of land across national borders by small but rich governments to raise and ship food into their own countries. New forms of ‘divides’ had emerged.
As governments faced fiscal difficulties to care for retired baby boomers and no willingness to shift resource allocations, they innovated to generate revenue. While society was generally unwilling to embrace widespread law enforcement surveillance of video feeds to prosecute victimless crimes, its resistance was not so great when the penalty was a fine and a ticket. While citizens once decried the frequency of parking tickets and the invasiveness of speed cameras, they came to bemoan tickets incurred for breaking laws they had previously broken with impunity. Police access to vehicle video feeds resulted in fines for speeding and for violations like rolling stops. Life-feeds yielded fines ranging from jaywalking to crimes seldom pursued by police in court like recreational drug use.
Scenario: Government Prevails
Most of us assume that the ICT industry, media companies, and NGOs will continue to be the leading players on the Internet stage, with governments playing just a supporting role. This scenario describes an alternate future, where citizens and businesses worldwide turn to governments and inter-governmental organizations for protection and response to increasingly frequent and dangerous disasters.
In 2011, Internet governance was still dominated by a private sector that had invested over a trillion dollars to bring connectivity, content, and e-commerce to nearly 2 billion people worldwide. The private sector – including businesses and NGOs– were still doing most of the heavy lifting in setting IT standards, expanding the Internet’s domain name system, and managing the transition to IPv6 addressing.
While governments pressed for a larger role in Internet governance, the private sector continued to drive Internet innovation, technology standards, and infrastructure investments. After some initial hesitation, governments were increasing their participation in multi-stakeholder fora such as ICANN and the Internet Governance Forum. From all appearances, it seemed in 2011 that multi-stakeholder models and consensus processes would shape the future of governance for the Internet, telecommunications technologies, and e-commerce.
However, mankind and mother nature combined to deliver a series of disasters and dangers that would overwhelm the plodding pace of any consensus-driven multi-stakeholder organization. Over time, this led most stakeholders to turn to governments for disaster responses and precautionary measures, many of which eroded the private sector’s role in Internet governance.
Looking at what transpired in 2011, perhaps we should have seen this coming. Several events that year sowed seeds of change in the role of governments in Internet oversight, ranging from the Arab Spring to the Stanley Cup to the Japanese Tsunami. Even video games and volcanic ash clouds contributed to the growth of government control over Internet resources.
The 2011 protest movement known as the Arab Spring had wilted under the heat of government repression by early 2012. Regimes that survived the protests vowed never again to be outflanked by organizers’ use of online social media. These governments started by following digital footprints to track down dissidents. And they required all domestic telecom and Internet service providers to use deep packet inspection for tracking and logging all social media traffic.
The spring of 2011 saw another protest that drove greater government control over social media. After the Vancouver Canucks lost the final game in hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs, a riot erupted in the city, causing fire and vandalism damage to vehicles and businesses. During the riots, citizens on the scene captured photos and videos of the mayhem, and posted them immediately to social media websites.
Within hours, hundreds of Vancouver social media users were“tagged” in videos and photos of vandalism and violence. Those who lost property in the riots used social media sites to organize vigilante justice squads against tagged individuals –even those whose only offense was being photographed while running away from a burning car or building.
The ensuing cycle of violence convinced Vancouver residents that vigilante justice was no substitute for police investigations and courtroom trials. The following year, Canada’s government passed new privacy laws prohibiting tagging of individuals in photos and videos on public websites. Other governments soon emulated Canada’s approach, effectively ending the popular practice of tagging friends on social media sites.
The effects of two major disasters in 2011 drove trends in Internet governance in 2013.
After the tsunami in Japan and river flooding in the US, online disaster relief scams captured headlines around the world. Criminals found they could take millions from well-meaning donors by hosting convincing websites with domain names likeTsunamiVictimFund.org and JoplinFloodRelief.com. Media coverage of the fraud drove a decline in online global giving to disaster relief and other charitable efforts.
Then in 2013, ICANN launched nearly 200 new top-level domains for the Internet. Among them was .Give , whose sponsors promised to operate a trusted space for all charities, spending millions to educate individual and business donors about the new top-level domain. Charities like the Red Cross and Red Crescent acquired their domain names in .Give, but most charities soon chafed under the .Give registry’s high fees and strict standards for relief operations and disclosure. By the end of the year, litigation and controversy drove the registry into bankruptcy, so ICANN invited an intergovernmental organization to take control of .Give domains and impose a new global regulatory regime for online giving.
Back in 2011, Microsoft unveiled Kinect, a motion and image sensor with amazing range and accuracy. By 2015 these devices were under $50US, and governments began deploying the sensors in public buildings and on streetlamps. Banks and businesses installed these sensors, too, but only governments had access to a global database of facial images that could be matched in real-time. By the end of the decade, most governments could identify and track individuals who came within range of their sensors. This proved helpful in finding missing persons and felons, but also enabled governments to identify and investigate dissidents appearing in street protests.
After another series of volcanic eruptions in 2016, drifting ash clouds once again grounded air travel over much of Europe and Asia. Many businesses took another look at virtual video meetings as an alternative to air travel. And by 2016, new technologies and Internet bandwidth made virtual meetings almost as good as being there. As a result, more and more businesses scaled back on air travel in favor of virtual meetings and conferences.
By late in the decade, the drop in business travel was affecting airlines, hotels, and restaurants worldwide, while governments felt the loss of associated tax revenues. Under heavy lobbying from the travel and conference industries, governments began limiting the bandwidth available for real-time international video conferencing, citing the need to preserve bandwidth for domestic uses. These moves slowed the decline in business travel, but it never recovered to previous levels.
By the end of the decade, businesses and citizens around the world had grown weary of government budget cuts and austerity measures. At the same time, they grew anxious for comprehensive solutions to global problems. That sentiment found a new target amid growing concern over the levels of fraud, deception, and threatening content on the Internet.
Earlier in the decade, European courts convicted business executives for a video someone had posted to the company’s website. This led to other convictions and private lawsuits over liability for user-generated postings and copyrighted material. In the US, 2017 saw the passage of controversial legislation regarding a black-list of websites that could no longer be served by ISPs, advertisers, payment services, or search engines.
By the end of the decade, most governments emulated the US and Australian approach and created black-lists of prohibited websites that included offensive content or copyright and TM violations. While this reduced some online threats, it was no help in stopping the virus attack of 2021, which emerged from within users’ computers – not from Internet websites.
For ten years, a mysterious computer virus had been quietly lurking in over a billion computers and mobile devices around the world. On April 1 of 2021, the ‘Conficker’ worm came to life– with a vengeance. All at once, these infected computers contacted their organized criminal controllers to upload credit card and identity data they had been collecting for a decade. Credit card fraud was rampant for months, as users around the world canceled accounts and watched for new accounts opened with their stolen credentials.
Conficker became the disaster that finally drove consumers and industry to demand that governments monitor all network traffic and scan users’ computers for the presence of malware. It also drove banks and businesses to demand that governments take unprecedented steps to battle credit card fraud, lobbying for government-issued biometric authentication credentials for all digital citizens.
While these user authentication services were originally designed to serve e-commerce, they were also embraced by online services looking to reduce legal exposure for user-generated content and copyright infringement. Social networks, blog sites, and video services soon required authenticated identities before publishing content – bringing an end to whatever anonymity remained on the Internet.
The year 2022 brought the most devastating tropical storms in recorded history. Coastal flooding and storm damage in equatorial regions caused tens of thousands of people to go missing, often for several days. Dramatic rescues captured media attention, and many of those survivors credited GPS transponders that were integrated with the latest high-end smartphones. By the end of the year, many governments passed popular mandates to require precise location-tracking technologies in all mobile devices—without the option to disable. Proponents cited the obvious benefits for search-and-rescue and 911 responders, swamping those who complained about this further erosion of personal privacy.
The unprecedented storms of 2022 were the tipping point that motivated governments around the globe to take collective action to stem global warming. In 2023, global governments signed the EarthSave Treaty, which included enforcement mechanisms to require reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The treaty required monitoring of all significant point sources of carbon dioxide and thermal pollution, creating instant demand for portable infrared sensors and gas chromatographs. Within a year, these sensors were available on smartphones, empowering a global network of “EarthSave Snitches” to capture emissions images of vehicles and factories and instantly send them to environmental authorities –along with GPS location and identity of the offender.
Since 2020, governments around the world were acquiring unprecedented powers to regulate financial markets, energy and food supplies, and just about anything that could be causing global warming. These new powers came in small increments and varied widely among nations, but a common theme was the growing reliance on virtual government services enabled by extensive surveillance and monitoring tools.
Local and state governments fully embraced a services model that was almost entirely online and available any place and at any time. This model was also highly interconnected among all levels of government, which proved invaluable when coordinating regional responses to disasters and to shortages of food, fuel, or water. Based on these successes, many local governments sought to merge their functions with other local and regional authorities. The trend for consolidation made it apparent that local governments would soon become relics of history.
This trend of connection and consolidation extended far up the governmental chain of command. Most national governments –including the US – were keen to build on the success of multi-national cooperation to fight terrorism and respond to disasters. And multi-governmental organizations like the United Nations took every opportunity to coordinate and consolidate power under various mandates for global solutions.
At many points in the process, there were public protests and legal challenges from advocates of free expression and groups suspicious of an intrusive, ‘big brother’ government. But the tide of public opinion and industry enthusiasm carried the day. By 2025, governments and law enforcement had become deeply embedded in all aspects of Internet communications, content, and e-commerce.